Wally Kurth: An in-depth look at his soap characters, Ned & Justin image

Two characters, two shows, one actor.

Wally Kurth has been a soap staple since the eighties. While he did a stint on "As the World Turns" in 2007, he is best known for his work on "Days of our Lives" and "General Hospital." With Kurth currently pulling double duty on both shows, Soaps.com thought it'd be fun to compare Salem's top lawyer Justin Kiriakis with Port Charles' business tycoon Ned Ashton.

Family dynamics:

Justin and Ned are descendants of the Kiriakis and Quartermaine dynasties respectively. Both families feature ruthless, domineering patriarchs, who built multi-million (billion?) dollar corporations. The characters were each introduced as rich, playboys, yet they still lived in their family's mansions with their parental figures, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, despite having the means to own homes across the country and beyond. The men have each worked for their family's company, requiring them to cross a line or two in the process, but at their cores, Justin and Ned are honorable men. The same can't always be said about the rest of the Kiriakises and Quartermaines, who when it comes down to it, remain their own worst enemies.

(Ned vs the Qs)

Double lives:

"Days of our Lives" Set WeddingWhen he first came to live Salem in 1987, Justin fell for innocent Adrienne Johnson, a girl from the other side of the tracks. Since Adrienne was opposed to the shady dealings associated with Kiriakis business, Justin kept his identity a secret, presenting himself as a construction worker instead. Justin was ready to trade his caddish ways for Adrienne, but since his uncle Victor Kiriakis didn't approve, he outed Justin's secret. Adrienne ended things, but that was only the beginning of their love story.

(Justin/Victor scene)

Ned arrived in Port Charles in 1988 though Kurth began playing him in the early 90s. After a couple years of the corporate life, he was ready to shake things up. Taking on the alias Eddie Maine, Ned became the new lead singer of The Idol Rich. His band's success, combined with Eddie falling in love with their manager Lois Cerullo, made balancing both personas tricky. To make things even worse, Ned was blackmailed into marrying Katherine Bell, after Eddie and Lois already tied the knot. As to be expected, things blew up in Ned/Eddie's face.

Relationships:

Early on, Justin had a fling with Anjelica Deveraux, who bore his child, Alexander, and eventually became engaged to his Uncle Vic. Decades later, he had an affair with a co-worker in Dubai named Elsa, and later, after Adrienne learned of the affair, he spent some time with Eve Donovan. Despite those trysts, Justin has really only had eyes for Adrienne. They married three times, got divorced three times, adopted two children and conceived one biological son over the years. Justin recently tried to win Adrienne back for a fourth time, but she chose to go down a new path with Lucas Horton.

While Justin has never attempted a musical career like Ned, he has pulled out his guitar from time to time, usually while trying to woo Adrienne. The longing, love and heartbreak it evoked was the epitome of classic soap.

(Justin singing to Adrienne)

Ned's romantic story is a little different, starting with an affair with his uncle's wife Monica Quartermaine. From there, Ned went through many women in Port Charles, four of whom he married: Jenny Eckert, who was really in love with Ned's stepfather Paul Hornsby; Katherine, Episode # 13786see above; Lois, who married Ned a second time after she got over the bigamy debacle; and Chloe Morgan, who was involved with Jasper "Jax" Jacks, while Ned was in love with Alexis Davis, but the couples platonically partner swapped for reasons only plausible in daytime.

Ned and Alexis did get engaged, but she panicked over the thought of being a Q and broke it off. He later came to her aid by pretending to be her baby's father so the real father, mobster Sonny Corinthos, wouldn't find out. Ned is currently engaged to Olivia Falconeri, to whom he briefly provided the same service when she was protecting her child from Julian Jerome. He also decided to change his last name to Quartermaine, officially making him the new patriarch.

(Lois popping out of a cake exposing Ned's double life)

Crimes:

Most of Justin and Adrienne's troubles in the early days revolved around how Kiriakis he could be while working for his uncle. But his most evil act was during one of their marital hiatuses, when Justin set up Adrienne's new beau Emilio Ramirez to meet with an "accident." Unfortunately for Justin, he was the one left paralyzed.

Ned's illegal activities have included the aforementioned two wives thing and lying about Kristina Davis' paternity, in addition to a little blackmail here and there. But does it compare to Justin trying to kill his romantic competition?

What do you think? Which character do you prefer - Justin or Ned? Or, do you like seeing twice as much of Kurth no matter which fictional city he's in? Tell us below!

Fun fact: Jane Elliot played Justin's lover Anjelica on "Days of our Lives," as well as Ned's mother Tracy on "General Hospital."

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Photo credit: Jill Johnson/JPI
Video credit: Jenn Jay, NeishaLuvsGH, DiMeraLover, bradyclanfan/YouTube

- Lori Wilson